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Poker News Round-up: Week #24

Although all eyes are on the World Series at the moment, the two major poker tours have both had announcements of their own to make this week. The European Poker Tour has released the schedule for season five, and like the WPT it has decided to trim down the itinerary this year - Dublin, Baden and the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure are all absent this time around. The Irish and Austrian venues did not attract particularly large fields by EPT standards in 2007 so it is understandable that they might have faced the chop, but the Bahamas proved very popular with over a thousand players in attendance so it is perhaps more a contractual issue with that one. However, John Duthie stated that he intends to add some new venues at some point so perhaps we will see the tour expand again before the year is out. One definite addition is the return of the French Open in Deauville, as French authorities appear to be relenting on their stance towards poker a little.

The World Poker Tour has also announced that reports of its demise as a television show are premature. Whilst the option for the Gameshow Network to commission a new series of the show has lapsed, WPT Enterprises says that it is in discussion with several other networks to broadcast the tour, with the possibility that shows will not be confined to just one network. With season seven of the WPT already underway WPT chiefs will presumable be keen to get this sorted as televised final tables have always been a big part of these events. Next up for them is the Bellagio Cup in July, which despite running parallel with the WSOP tends to attract a good field.

Antonius wants action
Antonius wants action

Finland’s Patrik Antonius turned a few heads when he wandered down to the tables to play in his dressing gown at Bellagio last year, and now he intends to cause a stir online as well. Shortly after signing up as a Full Tilt pro, Antonius has issued a challenge to the high stakes players who he claims “hide behind their computer screens, scared to play anyone they think is any good.” Antonius is looking for some heads up no limit hold’em action against anyone brave enough to take him on. There will no doubt be players who believe they have the skills to compete with him, but whether they would be prepared to risk their bankrolls against him is another matter. Antonius has shown on the High Stakes Poker show that he is prepared to get a lot of chips in the middle without a made hand, so his opponents had better be ready to face some big swings.

Week two of the World Series Of Poker has seen numerous bracelets (not to mention vast sums of cash) being dished out, and possibly the one that has attracted the greatest interest was the $10,000 mixed event. A new tournament at this year’s WSOP, the mixed event was a test of no less than eight different games – the five which comprise HORSE plus deuce to seven triple draw, no limit hold’em and pot limit Omaha. The large buy in plus the requirement to excel at the whole range of games meant that this would be a prestigious tournament to win and whilst many had an idea of who the likely suspects to win it would be, few would have predicted the eventual winner.

Mixed event champion Anthony Rivera
Mixed event champion Anthony Rivera

As expected, some of Bellagio’s Big Game regulars went deep with Eli Elezra and Sammy Farha making the final table, but interestingly several of poker’s young guns showed that they have picked up the less popular games very well. Tom Dwan (21), Jeff Madsen (22), Michael DeMichele (22) and James Mackey (22) all proved their mixed game ability with eighth, seventh, fourth and second respectively but it was a lesser known youngster, 22 year old Anthony Rivera who trumped them all with victory in event eight for £483,688.

In the numerous other tournaments that have taken place in the last week, notable moments include victory in the $5,000 no limit hold’em shootout for the man whose money founded Absolute Poker. Phillip Tom, father of Scott Tom who was accused of involvement in the Absolute Poker cheating scandal, picked up nearly half a million dollars more to add to his balance after winning his three tables to finally beat Greg Mueller heads up for the bracelet.

Philanthropist Eric Brooks
Philanthropist Eric Brooks

Erik Seidel was in with a shout of winning bracelet number nine in event fourteen – the $10,000 stud world championship but finally exited in fourth place. Relative unknown Eric Brooks took first and then decided that there were others that needed his $415,856 prize money more than he did and gave the lot to the Decision Education Foundation charity.

Mike The Mouth
Mike The Mouth

The other tournament which really drew a lot of attention due to its star line up was the no limit deuce to seven draw $5,000 rebuy event. There were just 85 runners but 272 rebuys in the early stages made for a decent prize pool, and once again young Tom Dwan set about showing his more experienced rivals how it’s done. Dwan was chip leader for a long time in this event but the no limit format meant that just one misplaced raise could see a lot of chips lost, and his aggression went a step too far when he was looked up by Erick Lindgren in a massive pot which led to Dwan being eliminated just short of another final table appearance. An all star final table line up of Jeff Lisandro, Mike Matusow, 2007 WSOP player of the year Tom Schneider, Erick Lindgren, Barry Greenstein, Tony G and David Benyamine made for extremely tough competition for the bracelet and must have been a dream setting for event organisers. Matusow had arrived at this WSOP looking much leaner after losing 50 pounds to win a $100,000 weight loss bet against Ted Forrest, but he was also making a point of telling people that he was in great shape mentally as well as a result of his new regime. That new mindset was put to the test in this event when Matusow mistakenly bet a flush (i.e. a terrible hand) thinking it was a low, and the scene was set for another Mike The Mouth blow up. In fairness to him though, he did manage to keep a lid on it and continue to play focussed poker and was rewarded with victory in this event when he beat Lisandro heads up. Mike collects $537,872 from a prize fund towards which Phil Ivey contributed nearly 10% with his rebuys, and The Mouth appears to be back – out of debt, off the drugs and playing well.

Vanessa "fslexcduck" Selbst
Vanessa "fslexcduck" Selbst

Elsewhere, Vanessa Selbst became the first woman to win an open event in this year’s series in the $1,500 pot limit Omaha. A rollercoaster journey saw her take a crazy chip lead from day one through to the final three players, whereupon she was pegged back and then overtaken. Help appeared to come for her when her final opponent, who had apparently been making full use of the waitress service, decided to play heads up without looking at his cards. However, Australian Jamie Pickering actually extended his chip lead with this reckless play as when he did eventually pick his cards up he often seemed to have been betting the best hand all along. Just when it seemed as though this madness would be successful, Selbst sucked out on the river when all in then saw Pickering stick it all in again on the flop whilst drawing very thin and in a flash Selbst had all the chips back to take victory in event nineteen.

Bracelet number 4 for Negreanu
Bracelet number 4 for Negreanu

Having recently launched an online poker training site, there could be no better way for Daniel Negreanu to convince people that his advice is worth listening to than winning another bracelet, and he did just that in event twenty. Negreanu took down the $2,000 limit hold’em event for $204,874 but stands to probably win as much again from Phil Ivey. The two had a bet whereby $200,000 would be paid to the other if they won a bracelet, but if reports of Ivey’s losses at the craps table are accurate then another $200,000 here is a small change for him.

So after a good first week at the WSOP, players from these shores have not managed to replicate the same success in week two but there are still plenty of opportunities for a British bracelet. This week sees world championship events at limit hold’em, stud hi/lo and no limit hold’em heads up, therefore plenty of money changing hands and plenty of points to be picked up for those doing fantasy poker teams. 

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